What’s a good price for an excellent Customer Experience?

Should we expect to endure a worse customer experience by brands who sell goods for less money? The current TV series, “Mary Portas: Secret Shopper” highlighted in one recent episode a number of low-cost high street brands including Primark, New Look and H&M whose customer service did not meet the standards the shows host would expect. The episode included messy stores and a lengthy search for a pair of harem trousers in which poorly trained and beleaguered staff rush around aimlessly, being of little help to the customer.

This got me thinking: if I were to go shopping in Primark, or a similarly priced store, I would not expect a high quality customer experience, and accept the large queues as normal for my shopping trip. But Mary Portas makes a very good point when she looks at the profits these companies make: Primark last year had already made £2.7bn by September and New Look saw a total revenue increase of 3.2%. These stores are obviously not struggling and its their customers who are 100% fuelling these profits.

So why shouldn’t I or any customer expect an acceptable customer experience when shopping with these brands? After all, I would be disappointed in a more ‘up-market’ store such as John Lewis or a top end London restaurant if I was let down by poor customer service.

Among Fizzback clients there are companies who sell lower and higher cost products. Yet all these companies share one key belief, that they should create a culture within the business of excellent customer service. Regardless of the price of the goods a company sells, it must put the customer at the centre of its thinking; otherwise ultimately there will be no lasting customer loyalty.

It is important for these “lower cost” brands to appreciate that eventually price is not the only driver of customer loyalty. Other values are also important to the customer, namely the service they receive by the staff and the shopping environment that they experience. It is important that any belief that the cost of the products the company sells determines the quality of the customer experience management they provide must be dispelled. Regardless of the cost of a company’s product, they must create a customer centric organisation, to increase loyalty and the customer service they provide.

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